Friday, May 21, 2010

A Boo-tiful Surprise

I love playing amateur backyard naturalist. So many times I walk to my car through the yard and see nothing, just grass that needs to be mowed, or maybe some rogue pots that need to be stacked. When you take a little time, though, you can see some amazing things in that small space. These vibrant leaves are from one of my columbines. The leaves range from this bright green to a deep purple, and I'm fascinated by the intricate veins that trace their surfaces.

My achillea is showing promise. You might know it by its common name, Yarrow. This hardy perennial produces white, yellow, red, or purple flower clumps. Bees and butterflies love them! As an added bonus, achillea features amazingly soft and delicate ferny leaves. I love to press them and slip them into letters.

Although it's early, there's still some color in the garden. These wild strawberries provide a sweet treat to our resident blackbirds. The runners can be invasive, though, so they must be watched carefully!

I adore the small clusters of mushrooms that come up after heavy rains. Yesterday I encountered a small family of slugs, feasting on the shorter ones. It looks like we have enough mushrooms to keep them happy for a while...that is, until my husband mows the yard.

It hasn't been all play in the yard. I've been quite busy in the kitchen, too. Company coming from out of town gave me an excuse to make some things I normally wouldn't make...a little too tempting to have around the house. I'll be posting some recipes soon, but for today, pictures will have to suffice.

A braided lemon loaf with homemade lemon curd and cream cheese filling from Smitten Kitchen's blog...

A fabulous rustic fruit tart from Baking With Julia...

Finally, to use up the extra lemon zest left over from the bread, I made some lemon poppy seed mini-muffins. A nice refreshing treat!

I'm still in the midst of knitting miles and miles of knee socks. I had to take a break to knit a little something I've had my eye on...

Hmmm...what could it be? A brown fish with a misshapen tail?

A potato with eyes?

Surprise! It's Boo the Bat...a delightful pattern from Ravelry. A quick one-day knit...there's definitely something to be said for instant gratification. It's not too fiddly, either, which is my chief complaint when knitting toys. For an added bit of whimsy, a clever button helps him go from sleeping... wide awake and ready to charm! My husband is charmed, anyway, and insists on taking him to work next week.

I've always loved bats. Growing up, I used to sit on my great-grandmother's front porch and watch them flit about at dusk, chasing insects and twittering in their strange, high-pitched language. A few years ago, I found a rustic wooden bat house and promptly installed it in the living room. It looks like a miniature old-fashioned potato bin. I can't wait to move to the country, when I can really put it to use!

I gave my husband his "boo-tiful" surprise, but he gave me one in return: several skeins of Cascade 220 in some of my favorite, green, and golden tan. Cascade 220 is 100% wool and great for felting, although I can't bear to felt it. It's a delight to knit with. I can actually feel a little lanolin as I handle it, and I imagine that besides looking great and knitting up beautifully, it softens my hands a bit.

The green and the golden tan are in sweater-quantity lots so I'm excited to comb through my saved patterns to make the perfect fiber-sweater match!

This is definitely going in my gratitude journal. A gratitude journal, in case you're unfamiliar with the term, is a simple notebook where you can jot down your daily small joys. At night, even tense shoulders tightened by hours of stress can be relaxed and daily woes forgotten by meditating on your list of little blessings. If I didn't pay attention, I might forget about the traffic-free trip to the post office, the beauty of the newest flower budding out in the garden, or finding a forgotten treat in the back of the refrigerator. But at night, as I ruminate over my list, I see the small delights God set out for me to see that day, and I thank Him for them. I believe that any good thing that happens is from God, and counting those small blessings every day are a key to real happiness.

I hope you're inspired to start a gratitude journal, too!


  1. Love the idea of a gratitude journal - and what an adorable bat. :)

    I'm going to start on some fingerless gloves this weekend. :)

  2. Thanks, Kim! If you haven't been to, I highly recommend it. A wonderful knitting resource, and lots of free patterns!